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Special Session: All set for Move to new Parliament Building Tomorrow

“All new decisions…will now be taken in the new building”, said PM Modi, as Opposition pushed for passage of the Women’s Bill in this session.
Old and New parliament India

New Delhi: Clouds hover over the old and new Parliament buildings on the first day of the Special session of Parliament on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023. (PTI Photo/Manvender Vashist Lav)

New Delhi: Amid widespread speculation over the reasons and secrecy of the agenda behind the government holding a five-day special session of Parliament, the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry finally released a list of Bills to be taken up during this session that began on Monday.

Meanwhile, in the all-party meeting, the Opposition parties made a strong pitch for passing the Women’s Reservation Bill in the special session of Parliament.

As per the Lok Sabha business listing, Monday’s agenda was “Discussion on Parliamentary Journey of 75 years….”, which was preceded by the Prime Minister announcing the move to the new building on ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’.

After much prodding by the Opposition on the secrecy behind the agenda and not being consulted before announcing the special session, list of Bills was released, including the one related to the appointments of the Chief Election Commissioner and other election commissioners.

However, the first day of the session largely concerns the old building of the Indian Parliament. It was announced in the morning that today is going to be the last day in the old Parliament building, and from tomorrow onward, the proceedings of the lower and upper houses will take place in the new Parliament building—expectedly bound to be another ‘event’ for photo-ops.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began the proceedings with his address in Lok Sabha, while mentioning the G20 summit as well as Chandrayaan 3. 

“The country has to become developed by 2047, and all new decisions for this will now be taken in the new building,” he noted. 

In the upper house, Union Minister Piyush Goyal started the proceedings, followed by an address from the Leader of the Opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge. All the speakers paid tributes to the old Parliament building. Recalling the country's journey, Kharge said that the constitutional values in India were earned through difficulties and sacrifices, and they cannot be compromised just like that.

Ahead of today's session, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that the government did not reply to Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi's letter outlining nine issues of importance to the government. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury also shared similar sentiments, highlighting that in the all-party meeting on Sunday, Congress raised issues like price rise, unemployment and the situation on the border. 

As per The Indian Express, in Sunday's all-party meeting, the Opposition parties "objected to clauses in the EC Bill, which was introduced in Rajya Sabha on August 10 but missing from the list circulated by the government ahead of the meeting." The Opposition leaders told the treasury that they would not support any changes that may "affect the independence of the EC."

Since the morning, the Opposition leaders have also been calling out the nature of the session. Chowdhury said that the opposition parties are unaware of whether the session is a 'normal' one or a 'special' one. He questioned the Centre's decision to remove zero and question hours from the session. 

DMK MP TR Baalu said that the special session was "not special."

"It is being organised to fulfil ulterior motives of the ruling party," he said.

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